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debate300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Fri, 10/03/2008 - 8:56am.

The vice presidential candidates were not the only political opponents debating last night. Candidates running for the 9th District State Senate seat, Democratic incumbent Julia Boseman and Republican challenger Michael Lee also squared off in Wilmington. Boseman is looking to clinch a third term in her North Carolina Senate seat, which Lee is closely eyeing. A panel asked the candidates questions submitted by New Hanover County residents. They agree on some issues, such as not allowing illegal immigrants into state universities and not banning cell phones while driving. “It's not something that I would support at this time, a total ban on cell phone use, because then we have to look at texting and many of the other things that people do in their car," said Boseman. Michael Lee said, "We really do need to let technicians and engineers make decisions versus politicians."> On the issue of gas prices, Boseman reminded the audience that she re-capped the gas tax and of her interest in looking at alternative energy sources and decreasing oil dependency. Lee said he would work to bring the gas tax down. Jim Russ attended last night’s debate and said, "Senator Boseman had some excellent ideas and of course she has experience in the legislature, so she has some insight, so to speak, information. I think Michael was extremely well-prepared." Lee also expressed concerns that New Hanover County schools are not receiving as much money from the lottery system as other schools in the state. Boseman said the lottery generates funding and keeps money at home in North Carolina, rather than forcing people to buy tickets in neighboring states. "I was impressed by the manner in which the candidates conducted themselves," said Russ. On the issue of offering incentives to Titan America for a Castle Hayne cement plant, Boseman is absolutely opposed. Michael Lee did not have a definite answer. He said he does not want something harmful brought to the area, but that there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

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